Commercial airline operations at Jammu airport could be impacted severely as a Notam (notice to airmen) issued by authorities virtually bars the operation of jets like the A320 and B737, used by all major airlines that operate to the city.
Sources said the load classification number (LCN) of the Jammu airport runway has come down to 24, which means that jets like B737 and A320 are too heavy to land and take off.
Taking immediate action, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s aviation safety regulator, has summoned safety chiefs of all airlines operating to Jammu on Friday. “Airline safety chiefs will be asked explain how they are ensuring safety of operations at Jammu,” a source said.
Sources said the DGCA is likely to tell airlines that they cannot operate to Jammu with full load, which means they would either have cut down on passengers or cargo.
“The runway needs to be of certain strength to take a certain size of an aeroplane. For example, the LCN for A320 is around 35. A load penalty would have to be introduced to avoid damage to the aircraft, passengers and the runway,” said an official.
“The old A320s with Air India have eight tyres unlike the new planes which have four. The older aircraft can operate at Jammu as the weight of the aircraft is distributed equally over eight tyres,” said an AI official.